That red and white Target logo is well known throughout America, where millions of customers shop each year for bargains. Most don't realize that the company's history stretches back more than 100 years, to when it started as the Dayton Dry Goods Company in 1902. Inspired by the harsh winters in its main base of Minneapolis, Dayton blazed a retail trail in 1956 with a two-story indoor shopping center that became the world's first fully enclosed mall.
While the modern company has a new name, Target remained on the cutting edge of style and bargains, offering exclusive items for the home and deals you won't find at any other retailer. And its company-branded REDcard credit card grants cardholders 5% off of most purchases made in-store or online. However, if you're thinking of applying for the card, be prepared to pay your balances in full each month to avoid the large APR.
Better Cards to Use at Target
Getting a percentage off of your purchase is a big draw toward the Target REDcard, especially for consumers that spend a lot of their budget there. But if your shopping trips often take you to other stores, you won’t be able to use your card all day long. You can get just as much savings with a traditional cash back credit card and the use of the latest Target coupons to cover most purchasing needs.
Cardholders report multiple issues with customer service, ranging from locked up cards to delays in processing payments. Many issues seem centered around the online portal for accessing and scheduling payments.
Getting a percentage off of your sale is great, but through many rewards cards, including the one suggested below, you can get similar amounts of cash back and may even qualify for a lower APR. On top of those perks, your card — and rewards — can be used anywhere you shop and not just at Target.
If Target is the more high-end of department store choices, the REDcard interest rate would belong on the shelves of that other store. If you're a thrifty shopper, and most Target regulars are, you may save money over the long haul with a lower-APR credit card option. Factor in the ability to use these cards anywhere, and it's a deal that’s hard to beat.
If you're looking to save money, why not take some of those savings you're stashing away and take a trip? With a travel rewards credit card, you can earn miles, hotel stays, or other perks that'll have you on your way in no time. Not only will you earn travel benefits for your Target purchases (including those like pharmacy charges that aren't covered by the REDcard discount), but you'll accrue rewards for all of your purchases, everywhere.
While Target's REDcard isn't a bad option for regular shoppers at the store — you can never go wrong with instant savings at the register — the main drawbacks come through the high APR, which negates any discounts if you carry a balance, and the closed-loop limitations that make it only usable at Target. If you're the type that can pay off your balance in full each month, you'll likely qualify for a card with a much better rate and extensive perks that cover your purchases wherever you shop.
What Others Say About the Target Credit Card
Despite the potential for in-store savings, many cardholders report having extensive problems with their REDcard being locked regularly due to security flags. Other issues revolve around the internet portal where cardholders can manage their cards and payments. If you're a REDcard carrier, be sure to schedule your payments on time, as payment delays are another common complaint.
I really love my Target credit card. The credit card offers all the benefits and ease of use as any credit card I have ever had, but it also has the added incentive of getting a 5% discount at Target stores and online. And any issue I have with my account or purchases is quickly and professionally resolved with their great customer service. I highly recommend this credit card. — WalletHub.com”
The website appears broken to me. I am always locked out of my online account. Supposedly I need their security, but I do wonder if it isn't deliberate. I Spent over an hour two days ago trying to reach someone to unlock my account. There's no clear option on the menu. Twice, a person I reached put me on hold and call cut out. Now I'm a day late so it hurts my otherwise excellent credit. — ConnsumerAffairs.com”
Fairly easy to get one with poor credit, you will get only a 200 or 300 credit line though. Keep your income updated with the website and if it gets higher you will see your limit get raised pretty quickly. I had Target raise my limit 3 times in a year. After about 2 years they may offer you a free upgrade to the Mastercard, which can be used anywhere. — CreditKarma.com”
Is the Target Card Right for You?
For more than 100 years, Target has provided consumers with the opportunity to purchase the items they need and want at discounted prices. The ability to save 5% off of your purchase with the use of a REDcard credit card is an added attraction, but the high APR and limited usability detract from the potential savings.
Instead of a one-trick wonder taking up space in their wallets, consumers are better served buying that new blouse or storage container with an everyday-use card with perks like a lower APR, cash back rewards, or travel benefits.
Editorial Note: Opinions expressed here are the author's alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.